Greater Fitness Improves Survival in Prehypertensive Men

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Prehypertensive men might live longer if they build exercise capacity.
Prehypertensive men might live longer if they build exercise capacity.
Improvements in exercise capacity are associated with decreased mortality among prehypertensive men, data show.

Researchers led by Peter Kokkinos, PhD, Director of the Exercise Testing and Research Lab at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and a Professor in the Division of Cardiology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., examined the association between peak exercise capacity (measured as metabolic equivalent tasks [METs]) and mortality in a group of 4,735 prehypertensive men.

METs represent the energy expenditure requirement for various activities. The more vigorous an activity, the greater the number of METs required.

Subjects were divided into four fitness categories: those who achieved less than 5, 5-7, 7.1-10, and more than 10 METs. Over 22 years of follow-up (mean 8.0 years), 943 deaths occurred.

After adjusting for age, BMI, diabetes, and dyslipidemia, exercise capacity was the strongest risk factor for mortality, according to findings presented at the American Society of Hypertension annual meeting in San Francisco. Each 1-MET increase in exercise capacity was associated with a 14% decreased risk of death overall and an 18% and 11% decreased risk among men younger and older than 60, respectively.

Compared with men who achieved 5 METs, those who achieved 5-7, 7.1-10, and more than 10 METs had a 25%, 60%, and 75% decreased risk of death.
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